In HOPE

  In HOPE 8.7 

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David Timms  

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Hope Happenings

The Hope International University Music Department presents SEUSSICAL...the Musical on March 6-7, 13-15. Dr. Seuss characters sing and dance their way through countless adventures and discoveries. This heart-warming production, with its toe-tapping tunes, endearing humor, and familiar Seuss rhymes will be a delight for all ages.

Hope International University
Fullerton  CA  92831

 

"Apart from love, obedience is simply an act of obligation.
As a response to love, duty becomes an act of devotion.
"
~ David Benner, Surrender to Love, p.64.


Duty & Devotion

Occasionally I see fully devoted followers of Christ. Occasionally I am one. Just occasionally.

 

It's not that I don't read Scripture, pray, attend church services, give, serve others, and even preach and teach. It's that I don't love-not sufficiently, not consistently, not deeply, not unreservedly, yet. And love forms the foundation for true devotion.

 

It's relatively easy to structure my life around duty. I've spent my lifetime working hard to meet the expectations of others. Those of us who struggle to say "No" place high importance on the opinions and approval of others. We do our duty to receive their admiration.

 

But "fully devoted" and "deeply dutiful" reflect different sources.

 

As Jesus faced the journey toward Jerusalem, He did so out of devotion not duty. He faced His approaching death not from obligation-some divine plan that must be accomplished, no questions asked-but because He loved so deeply; His Father, us. He did not endure the cross to fulfill His duty but to display His devotion.

 

Richard Foster describes spiritual disciplines as "those things we can do, that allow God to enable us to do what we cannot do, such as loving our enemies." Thus, all the external rites, rituals and habits that we call Christian have two goals; enablement and intimacy.

 

Disciplines done out of duty fail to touch the heart and inevitably collapse for most of us. Indeed, the lover never considers time given to his Beloved a "discipline." Instead, love reframes it as an "opportunity."

 

Devotees read Scripture not for information but transformation; not to get God's attention but to lovingly give Him their attention. They fast (from television, food, internet, or whatever) not to impress Him but to press into Him.

 

The Christian journey, in its richest moments, finds its fuel not in law but in love. Our faith comes alive not with teeth-gritting determination but with loving devotion. We enter the deepest joy as we engage the heart, not just the head.

 

Jonathan Edwards, who lived and preached during the Great Awakening in 18th century America, noted that "throughout the Bible, true religion is placed in the affections." Learning to love Christ, then, provides the transition from duty to devotion.

 

May the Father guide our journey into more consistent, deep, and unreserved love for Him. And may He shape us to become more devoted (rather than dutiful) followers of Jesus ... even this week.

 

In HOPE -

 

David

 

Want to chat more on a topic? Hit "Reply" and share your thoughts.
I'm always happy to explore these issues further.

You can find back issues of "In HOPE" (2005-2008) at http://www.hiu.edu/inhope/.

David Timms serves in the Graduate Ministry Department at Hope International University in Fullerton, California. "In HOPE", however, is not an official publication of the University and the views expressed are not necessarily those of the Administrators or Board. "In HOPE" has been a regular e-publication since January, 2001.